Page images


Oli. Now, sir! what make you here?6

Orl. Nothing: I am not taught to make any thing.
Oli. What mar you then, sir?

Orl. Marry, sir, I am helping you to mar that which God made, a poor unworthy brother of yours, with idleness.

Oli. Marry, sir, be better employed, and be naught a while !8

Orl. Shall I keep your hogs, and eat husks with them? What prodigal's portion9 have I spent, that I should come to such penury?

Oli. Know you where you are, sir?

Orl. O, sir, very well: here in your orchard.

Oli. Know you before whom, sir?

Orl. Ay, better than he I am before knows me. I know you are my eldest brother; and, in the gentle condition of blood, you should so know me. The courtesy of nations allows you my better, in that you are the first-born; but the same tradition takes not away my blood, were there twenty brothers betwixt us: I have as much of my father in me as you; albeit, I confess, your coming before me is nearer to his reverence.10

Oli. What, boy!

Orl. Come, come, elder brother, you are too young in this.11

6" What make you here?" is old language for "what are you doing here?" A very frequent usage.

7 Marry was used a good deal in colloquial language as a petty oath or intensive; something like the Latin heracle and edepol. This use of marry sprang from a custom of swearing by St. Mary the Virgin.

8 Be naught, or go and be naught, was formerly a petty execration between anger and contempt, which has been supplanted by others, as be hanged, be cursed, &c.; awhile, or the while, was added merely to round the phrase. 9 The allusion to the parable of the Prodigal Son is obvious enough. 10 Nearer to him in the right of that reverence which was his due. 11 The word boy naturally provokes and awakens in Orlando the sense of his manly powers; and, with the retort of elder brother, he grasps him with

Oli. Wilt thou lay hands on me, villain?

Orl. I am no villain: I am the youngest son of Sir Roland de Bois; he was my father; and he is thrice a villain that says such a father begot villains. Wert thou not my brother, I would not take this hand from thy throat till this other had pull'd out thy tongue for saying so thou hast rail'd on thyself.

Adam. [Coming forward.] Sweet masters, be patient: for your father's remembrance, be at accord.

Oli. Let me go, I say.

Orl. I will not, till I please: you shall hear me. My father charged you in his will to give me good education : you have train'd me like a peasant, obscuring and hiding from me all gentleman-like qualities.12 The spirit of my father grows strong in me, and I will no longer endure it therefore allow me such exercises as may become a gentleman, or give me the poor allottery my father left me by testament; with that I will go buy my fortunes.


Oli. And what wilt thou do? beg, when that is spent? Well, sir, get you in: I will not long be troubled with you; you shall have some part of your will: I pray you, leave


Orl. I will no further offend you than becomes me for my good.

Oli. Get you with him, you old dog!

Adam. Is old dog my reward? Most true, I have lost my teeth in your service. - God be with my old master! he

would not have spoke such a word.

[Exeunt ORLANDO and ADAM.

firm hands, and makes him feel he is no boy. So in Lodge's story: "Though I am eldest by birth, yet, never having attempted any deeds of arms, I am youngest to perform any martial exploits."

12 Qualities here probably means pursuits or occupations; thus according with exercises a little after. The Poet often uses quality so.

13 Allottery is portion; that which is allotted.

Oli. Is it even so? begin you to grow upon me? I will physic your rankness,14 and yet give no thousand crowns neither. Holla, Denis!

Enter DENIS.

Den. Calls your Worship?

Oli. Was not Charles the Duke's wrestler here to speak with me?

Den. So please you, he is here at the door, and importunes access to you.

Oli. Call him in. [Exit DENIS.]—'Twill be a good way; and to-morrow the wrestling is.


Cha. Good morrow to your Worship.

Oli. Good morrow, Monsieur Charles. What's the new news at the new Court?

Cha. There's no news at the new Court, sir, but the old news that is, the old Duke is banished by his younger brother the new Duke; and three or four loving lords have put themselves into voluntary exile with him, whose lands and revenues enrich the new Duke; therefore he gives them good leave to wander.

Oli. Can you tell if Rosalind, the old Duke's daughter, be banished with her father?

Cha. O, no; for the new Duke's daughter, her cousin, so loves her, being ever from their cradles bred together,that she would have followed her exile, or have died to stay 15 behind her. She is at the Court, and no less beloved

14 Rankness is overgrowth, or having too much blood in him. Oliver's thought is, that Orlando is growing too big for his station, and so needs to be taken down. The Poet repeatedly uses to physic for to heal.

15 To stay is an instance of the infinitive used gerundively, or like the Latin gerund, and so is equivalent to by or from staying. The usage is very frequent in Shakespeare, and sometimes makes his meaning obscure. See vol. i., page 207, note 12.

of her uncle than his own daughter; and never two ladies loved as they do.

Oli. Where will the old Duke live?

Cha. They say, he is already in the Forest of Arden,16 and a many merry men with him; and there they live like the old Robin Hood 17 of England: they say, many young gentlemen flock to him every day, and fleet the time carelessly, 18 as they did in the golden world. 19

Oli. What, you wrestle to-morrow before the new Duke? Cha. Marry, do I, sir; and I came to acquaint you with a matter. I am given, sir, secretly to understand that your younger brother, Orlando, hath a disposition to come in disguised against me to try a fall. To-morrow, sir, I wrestle for my credit; and he that escapes me without some broken limb shall 20 acquit him well. Your brother is but young and tender; and, for your love, I would be loth to foil him, as I must, for my own honour, if he come in: therefore, out of my love to you, I came hither to acquaint you withal; that either you might stay him from his intendment, or brook such disgrace well as he shall run into, in that it is a thing of his own search, and altogether against my will.

Oli. Charles, I thank thee for thy love to me, which thou

16 Ardenne was a large forest in French Flanders, lying near the river Meuse, and between Charlemont and Rocroy.

17 This prince of outlaws and "most gentle theefe" lived in the time of Richard I., and had his chief residence in Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire. Wordsworth aptly styles him "the English ballad-singer's joy"; and in Percy's Reliques is an old ballad entitled Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne, showing how his praises were wont to be sung. His character and mode of life are well delivered in Scott's Ivanhoe.

18 Carelessly is used elegantly here, in the sense of freedom from care. 19 Of this fabled golden age, an ancient and very general tradition wherein the state of man in Paradise appears to have been shadowed, some notion is given in Gonzalo's Commonwealth, The Tempest, Act ii.,

Scene I.

20 Shall for will. The two were often used indiscriminately. "Will have to do his best" is the meaning. Him for himself, of course.

shalt find I will most kindly requite. I had myself notice of my brother's purpose herein, and have by underhand means laboured to dissuade him from it; but he is resolute. I tell thee, Charles, it is the stubbornest young fellow of France; full of ambition, an envious emulator of every man's good parts, a secret and villainous contriver against me his natural brother: therefore use thy discretion; I had as lief thou didst break his neck as his finger. And thou wert best look to't; for if thou dost him any slight disgrace, or if he do not mightily grace himself on thee,21 he will practise against thee by poison, entrap thee by some treacherous device, and never leave thee till he hath ta'en thy life by some indirect means or other; for, I assure thee, and almost with tears I speak it, there is not one so young and so villainous this day living. I speak but brotherly of him; but, should I anatomize 22 him to thee as he is, I must blush and weep, and thou must look pale and wonder.

Cha. I am heartily glad I came hither to you. If he come to-morrow, I'll give him his payment: 23 if ever he go alone again, I'll never wrestle for prize more and so, God keep your Worship!

Oli. Farewell, good Charles. [Exit CHARLES.] - Now will I stir this gamester: 24 I hope I shall see an end of him; for my soul, yet I know not why, hates nothing more than he. Yet he's gentle; never school'd, and yet learned; full of noble device; of all sorts enchantingly beloved; and indeed so much in the heart of the world, and especially of

21 That is, "get himself honour or reputation at your expense."

22 To anatomize, as the word is here used, is to unfold, explain, or expose a thing thoroughly. Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy is a capital instance in point. The same sense survives in the technical use of the word in Medical Science.

23 Payment for punishment. The verb to pay is often so used.

24 Gamester was used very much as our phrase sporting character, or of one sowing his wild oats.

« PreviousContinue »